Investing in the future: Training and education for the next generation of farmers in Australia and Europe

To ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry, we need to equip tomorrow’s farmers with the knowledge they need to ensure sustainability underpins everything they do.

We also need to ensure a steady stream of new ideas and talent into the field. This is a challenge for the red meat industry globally, and particularly in advanced economies like Australia and the EU.

That’s why MLA are proud sponsors of several student agricultural programmes across Australia – the Nuffield Scholarship, MINTRAC postgraduate studentships, as well as Postgraduate Study Awards and the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People. MLA also offers Livestock Advisor Updates bursaries, for expanding professional training for newcomers to the red meat industry. The scholars in these programmes study a wide variety of topics like how to effectively process data on farms, how to manage the land in a sustainable way, and the benefits of greater diversity and representation in the farming industry. These students will continue to bring an influx of ideas and innovation to the Australian red meat industry, ensuring we become more productive and, crucially, more sustainable too.

This emphasis on expanding agricultural knowledge for the future mirrors work being undertaken across the EU. The European Innovation Partnership Network for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) links research and farming practice to encourage learning and innovation in the industry. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, an exchange program that serves to educate new entrepreneurs in all industries and has been used successfully in the agriculture industry. And the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) recently adopted “Boosting Knowledge and Innovation” as a key focus area.

There is also a lot that Australia and Europe can learn from each other. Our similar cultural values are expressed through organisations such as the Australian & International Agricultural Exchange, which help place agricultural students in work placements across Europe, and the ERASMUS+ programme, which supports young Europeans to study in Australia.

Ultimately, we know that farming sustainably in the future will mean working smarter and keeping on top of emerging trends and technologies.

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Article Date: 10th September 2019

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